Last week, I received this beautiful piece of cardboard and pin, in recognition of my 10 years of service to the United States Government. Don’t get it twisted, I felt proud, and honored to have had the opportunity to serve. They mean more to me than I care to admit, and I will proudly display them in my office.

They represent my first “adult” job, amazing friendships, a wealth of knowledge, and journey that changed the course of my life. They represent learning office politics, how to be compassionate, and how not to judge others based on their appearance alone. They represent doing what you have to do, which may or may not be what you want to do. They represent crying with some, laughing with others, and growing, witnessing people in their different seasons. They represent a solid career, a decent salary, security.

Thinking about what they mean to me forced me to challenge my definition of legacy. When your entire adult life is so deeply invested in someone else’s vision, it’s hard to even articulate your own. That job could have been part of my legacy. One that I would have been proud of, but God had a different legacy in mind for me. One that I didn’t foresee.

My new definition of legacy… it doesn’t matter who we are, what we do, or even how hard we work. Our legacy is defined by the things and experiences we give to others, which have the propensity to transform their lives… for better or worse. Our legacy can be created deliberately, or by default. We decide. If we simply exist, go through the motions, but have no specific vision, mission, purpose, goal, something that drives us to plan…we will still give things and experiences to others, but they may not be the things or experiences we intended.

We have the option to be deliberate about the legacy we wish to leave. To be in control. To make a difference in one town, or a thousand cities. We have the option to support and help fulfill a vision we believe in, or to create our own. We have the option to protect the things we care about, and give to others the experiences we choose. I chose to adjust my sails, to plan, follow my vision and create the legacy God intended for me. What type of legacy will you leave? Will it be created deliberately, or by default? You decide.

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